A political DUI

An Accident Waiting To HappenSome of us can recall the helpless feeling of being in a vehicle driven by someone who is intoxicated. If you’re like me, you don’t want to cause a scene unless the driving is really erratic. But there comes a moment when you need to say: Stop the car. You’re going to hurt someone. Hand over the keys. We have a political system is the equivalent of a drunk driver. The primary culprits are the House Republicans. They are so intoxicated with their own ideology they are ready to drive nation’s car off the road. I don’t know if the sequestration that’s set to begin Friday will produce a little crisis or a big one; the sad fact is that the Republicans don’t know, either, yet they’re still willing to put the country at risk to make a political point. (source: David Ignatius – The Washington Post – 26/02/2013)

I’m no fan of the way President Barack Obama has handled fiscal crisis. As I’ve written often, he needs to provide presidential leadership that guides Congress and the country toward fiscal stability. In my analogy, he should take steering wheel firmly in hand and drive the car toward destination where most maps show we need to be heading: namely, balanced program of cuts in Social Security and Medicare and modest increases in revenue. Instead, Obama has chosen to be co-dependent, as psychologists describe those who foster destructive behavior of others. He double-dared the reckless Republicans by proposing the sequester back in 2011. And rather than stepping up to leadership since being reelected, he has triple-dared the GOP hotheads with a partisan inaugural address and weeks of what the Republicans rightly have called a “road show” of blame-game politics. Doesn’t the president see that the GOP is addicted to this showdown at Thunder Road? This is all the power GOP has these days, really, the ability to scare the heck out of everybody and run the car into the ditch. Much as I would criticize Obama, it’s wrong to say both sides are equally to blame for what’s about to hit us. This isn’t a one-off case of Republicans using Obama’s sequestration legislation to force reckless budget cuts. It’s a pattern of behavior: First the Republicans were prepared to shut down the government and damage national credit rating with their showdown over the debt ceiling; then they were careening toward “fiscal cliff.” This isn’t a legislative tactic anymore; it’s an addiction. Where did this recklessness come from? Only a few years ago, George W. Bush was a compassionate conservative and John McCain won GOP nomination as the Republican who knew how to govern across the party lines. What happened to that Republican Party? Today’s Republicans seem to suffer from what’s sometimes known as Obama Derangement Syndrome, in which their hatred of the president blinds them to country’s interests. To be honest, this malady is eerily similar to the Bush Derangement Syndrome that afflicted Democrats during the previous decade.

The Democrats were so incensed back then, they stopped caring whether America succeeded or failed in Iraq; Republicans are so angry now that they don’t care whether the economy goes to hell. So how can we get these incapacitated drivers to stop before they do any more damage? If this were really a case of chronic drinkers, answer would be an intervention to keep them off the road. In politics, the public gets to intervene through elections. We just had one, and Republicans lost, big time. Yet it didn’t seem to make much difference. The House Republicans are still grabbing for the wheel, and the car is rumbling toward trouble. Obama tries everything to gain control, except a clear, firm presidential statement that speaks to everyone onboard, those who voted for him and those who didn’t, that could get the country where it needs to go. The weird thing is that, politics aside, there is every reason to be optimistic about America’s future. The country’s financial markets are resilient; the housing slump finally seems to be ending; a new era of low-cost shale oil and gas is beginning and, as a result, the United States is becoming a competitive manufacturing economy again. There’s one ruinously dysfunctional part of the American story, the breakdown of our political system. It’s time for an intervention, to take the keys away.

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to A political DUI

  1. Whoever could have imagined that Republicans could be such wussies? After all, the GOP is the Party of Testosterone. Democrats are the ones who are supposed to be wimpy and weepy. But lately the Republicans have been a bunch of crybabies: Hey mama, President Obama is picking on us. He’s so strong, so ruthless. Some of the biggest bullies in the schoolyard, it seems, can dish it out, but they can’t take it. The Republican reaction to losing last November’s presidential election has included many familiar themes (especially familiar to Democrats: We’ve been there). There’s the traditional recrimination and finger-pointing, of course. There’s the search for the next messiah. There’s the call for “new ideas.” But one theme is novel: self-pity. Indulging the self-pity of the voters has been a worsening ailment of American politics for years. The essential difference between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher—founders of their respective parties in their current forms—is that he did it and she did not. She told voters to “pull up your socks,” or ”get in your car,” or “polish your boots,” or “eat your vegetables.” Over at Reagan’s, you could have pancakes for breakfast every day, because you’ve suffered enough. Self-pity is a powerful force. It’s usually bad policy but good politics. But what’s going on now is different. Now it is the politicians themselves, and their affiliated media, which complain loudly about feeling bullied by their opponents. So far, the disease has only spread among Republicans. Big, bad President Obama, creepy Harry Reid, that B-word Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the gang of toughs called the Democratic Party are picking on the poor defenseless GOP. As a campaigning theme, it seems insane. The GOP has long prospered by portraying Democrats as the wimps, dangerously weak and unfit for command. Does the name Michael Dukakis ring a bell? And in really heady moments, like 1984, when Reagan earned his second term, or 1994 and 2010, when sweeping victories in off-year elections seemed to foretell an imminent landslide, Republican fantasies of one-party rule involved the triumph of their party, not humiliation by the other side. In fact, moaning about how weak you are compared with the opposition seems so obviously a political mistake that we can only reach one conclusion: This must be sincere. Rush Limbaugh recently spent two days of his radio show wallowing in political self-pity. “I have alerted you and anybody who will listen that what the objective is at the White House is the annihilation of the Republican Party, the elimination of all viable opposition—and on a personal level. You know, not just to annihilate Republican Party/conservative ideas, but also people, the people who carry them, the people who believe in them.” What on Earth does he mean by “annihilation”? And not just of ideas, but of people? Should we expect pogroms against Republicans in Obama’s second term? (…..)

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112493/republican-self-pity-obamas-secret-plot-end-gop

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